For some people, asking for what they want is easy... while for others it is very difficult. And for the rest of us, we alternate between the two. In some instances, we have no problem asking, yet in others we can't seem to get around to it. Why is that?
When the asking is easy, it is usually because we are confident in our "deservability". We know we deserve what we are asking for, either because it is rightfully ours, or we have worked hard for it, or whatever other reason. The important thing is that we are secure in knowing that whatever we are asking for is meant to be ours.
In other cases, when we hesitate in asking, or procrastinate, or perhaps ask timidly, we have some doubts that we are deserving. Many times that attitude may be completely unconscious. We may ask our boss for a raise, and on the outside, we seem to believe that we deserve it... after all we worked hard, do our job well, have gained experience and expertise, etc. So the "rational" part of us has no problems in believing that we deserve the raise.
But there's another side of us that doubts... Usually the doubts come from beliefs ingrained as a child... times when we were criticized, ridiculed, told we weren't "good enough". These beliefs are buried in our subconscious and when we do ask (or don't ask) for that raise, they sabotage our ability to receive. We may ask for a raise, but do so in such a way that we present the picture of someone who is not sure about the results. We may come through as "begging" rather than just requesting our "just rewards".
The Stop Signs in Our Mind
This applies to all areas of our life. We ask for health, happiness, a loving relationship, but deep down we have all these other thoughts... we don't eat a "perfect" diet, so we can't have health... we are not "perfect" so how can we deserve happiness... we are not always loving and we have so many flaws, so how can we attract the "perfect" relationship...
All these thoughts are like stop signs -- they stop our good from coming to us. We start a new diet or exercise program, yet we have an underlying thought that we won't be able to sustain it. We look for Mr. (or Ms.) "Right" yet are filled with self-loathing and self-criticism. If we don't even like ourselves, how can we expect someone else to?
A famous comedian said that he wouldn't want to join a club that would have him for a member. In many cases, that is our situation. We ask for something, but if we were the people doing the giving, we wouldn't give it to us. Now the irony is that, metaphysically, we are the person doing the giving. If we ask and do not believe we deserve to receive, then we are the one refusing to give it to us. While we may rant and rave at our boss for not giving us the raise, we are the ones who feel undeserving and are stopping our good from coming through.
YES! YES! YES!
The Universe operates as a big "YES". Whatever we truly believe we deserve, we get "Yes" for an answer. For example: if you go around thinking that you eat too much junk food and that it's not good for your health, you are opening the door to problems. It is not so much the consequence of our actions, but more the consequence of our beliefs. Which may explain why a person who eats junk food, smokes, and drinks all their life lives to be 90, while another who takes extremely good care of themselves ends up with cancer.
The problem may lie in the attitude towards what we do. If we feel we are not doing things "good enough" then we may believe we deserve to be punished with illness. So, someone who eats healthily, exercises, and takes care of themselves could still get cancer, because deep down, they are still judging themselves for not doing it "good enough", and the Universe responds with a YES. I know this is a radical notion, but one that you may benefit from considering.
Other examples of this can be found in situations where we have "accidents". We might get some insights by looking at what were we thinking before the incident? Were we angry, frustrated, feeling like things were not going our way? Like someone was stopping us from getting where we wanted? The thoughts and energy we emit come right back to us in another form, backaches, pain, accidents, etc. etc.
Stop This Train of Thought, I Want to Get Off
When I first realized these things, it frightened me... If frightened me to know that my thoughts carried so much power. I wanted to find a way to stop thinking completely and, of course, realized that it was impossible. It got overwhelming!
How can we get out of this predicament?
The first thing we need to realize is that random thoughts are not the problem. Even if you have rare thoughts about your undeservability, or whatever other negative thought, these do not count. Don't become paranoid about every single negative thought that enters your mind. It is the accumulation of repeated thoughts that make a difference -- those thoughts that you repeat to yourself everyday and many times a day. For example, if you constantly go around telling yourself that you're stupid, then after a while, you will believe it, and so will the people around you.
We are all cases of self-fulfilling prophecy. Whatever we prophesize, or believe, about ourselves will come true. This is why it is very important to pay attention to our thoughts -- to make sure we don't let them go on and on unattended. Our thoughts are like misbehaving children -- we need to pay attention to them. Start listening to your self talk. Pay attention to what you're inwardly telling yourself day after day. Then if what you hear isn't prophesizing the results you want, then you can choose to change what you tell yourself.
One Plus One Plus Many Adds Up
This process is usually called "affirmations" -- where one replaces a negative thought with a positive one. I see affirmations as part of a mathematical equation in our brain. If you've told yourself 10,000 times throughout your life that you're an idiot, then you need to tell yourself 10,001 times (or more) that you are an intelligent child of God. The more you tell yourself positive uplifting things, the more you will counteract all the negative programming (whether the programming has come from parents, siblings, teachers, ex-husband/wives, etc. or from yourself).
Our greatest challenge may be to learn to listen... to listen to our "inner chatterer" so that we can "set him/her straight" using positive feedback, supportive self-talk, affirmations, etc. The task we have is to start paying attention to what we are really asking for, deep inside the dark recesses of our mind. Any feelings of guilt need to be addressed as they will close the door to our good. Any feelings of unworthiness, hatred, thoughts of revenge, etc. also have to be dealt with. Any of this "negative energy" or these negative thoughts serve as a wall blocking us from our good.
So while you may think you've been asking for a raise, a good relationship, prosperity, (or whatever) you may really have been saying (inside yourself) that you are not deserving of these things... If you haven't been getting what you've been asking for out of life, then perhaps you need to ask yourself why you don't feel you deserve to get it.
Exercise: Why I Think I Won't Get What I Want
Get out pen and paper (or a blank page on your digital screen) and write down whatever comes to mind when you ask yourself "Why I think I won't get what I want." Write down the answers even if you think they are ridiculous... If you thought it, then it is there and needs to be addressed.
For example, one of your thoughts as to why you haven't attracted your soulmate may be "I'm not tall enough". You may instantly judge that as a stupid thought, yet, regardless, since you thought it, for you, it is real (until you replace it with another thought).
After you've made your list, sit and think of three other reasons to add to it... Let your subconscious come up with three other reasons. Then run down the list and make another list with a positive replacement. The positive thought or affirmation should never contain the words "not", "no", etc. For example, if one of your thoughts is "I'm fat", then don't replace it with "I'm not fat". That is still focusing on fat. A more appropriate replacement would be "Everyday I am getting healthier and closer to my ideal weight".
It is time for us to look at the things we say we want out of life and then see what beliefs and thoughts we harbor that are keeping those things away from us.
We are powerful beings. The power of our mind is awesome. We can learn to harness that power and have it work for us rather than against us. All it takes is our taking the time to pay attention to what we REALLY think and and focus on changing those thoughts to supportive ones.
You can do it... after all, it's all in your mind!
About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
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